Fermenting Revolution delivers an empowering message about how individuals can change the world through the simple act of having a beer. Chris O'Brien presents the case for beer as both the cause of and solution to all of the world's problems. Beer has contributed to the best qualities of civilization, but it is also helping to destroy them. The global beer industry relies heavily on fossil-fuels and chemical agriculture, rapidly destroying nature and contributing to climate change. Corporate beer is centralized and hierarchical, which is good for a few elites, but displaces local brewing traditions and exacerbates the growing wealth gap. But the craft brewing renaissance relies on cooperation, emphasizes local production, protects and celebrates nature, and nurtures the growth of strong and equitable communities. Fermenting Revolution traces the path of brewing from a women-led, home-based craft to corporate industry, and describes how modern craft breweries and home-brewers are forging stronger communities.
O'Brien explains how corporate mega-breweries are also taking steps to pioneer industrial ecology, and profiles the most inspiring and radical breweries, brewers, and beer drinkers that are making the world a better place to live. In the last two decades, Americans have returned to to beer as a way of life rather than as a commodity. Casting off its industrial chains, beer is again communal, convivial, democratic, healthful, and natural. The contemporary American brewing scene champions ecologically sustainable production and is helping to create thriving community places. After reading Fermenting Revolution, mere beer drinkers will become "beer activists," ready to fight corporate rule by simply meeting their neighbors for a pint at the local brewpub-saving the world one beer at a time.
Chris O'Brien is Director of the Responsible Purchasing Network at The Center for a New American Dream, having previously directed Co-op America's Business Network and the Fair Trade Federation. Also part owner of an organic and fair trade brewing supplies company, he is publisher of Beeractivist.com, the online brewsletter about how to drink beer and save